Ipswich: Blues chiefs meet borough over �500,000 rent dispute

DISCUSSIONS have taken place in a bid to resolve the row over the controversial backdated rent rise on Ipswich Town’s Portman Road home.

Bosses from the club have met with representatives from Ipswich Borough Council in a bid to settle the debt.

In March, The Evening Star revealed that the club’s rent, which had been set at �15,000 a year, was to be raised to �111,000 and backdated to 2004 leaving the club with a bill of just over half a million pounds.

Blues chief executive Simon Clegg spoke with leaders of all the political parties during the run-up to the election and has now formally met with the new council leadership to discuss the matter.

A spokesman for the council said: “We can confirm that the leader and the chief executive have met the football to club to discuss the issue.”

Mr Clegg added: “I have met with the new regime and spoke to the leaders of all political parties during the election process.

“I have subsequently formally met with the new leader and the chief executive and this is still a live issue.”

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Ipswich council owns the freehold to the ground although the structures, including the stands, are owned by the football club. The borough decided to review the rent last year and an independent tribunal was set up to look at what was a fair return – the tribunal recommended the rent be increased to �111,000 a year and should be backdated to 2004.

The club had also offered to buy the freehold of the ground for �1million but the council did not feel it was a reasonable valuation of the site.

Mr Clegg has stated that, despite a meeting taking place between the two groups, nothing has been established yet.

He said: “We are in discussions with Ipswich Borough Council and these discussions with the new regime are in their early stages.

“The new regime has only been in place for a couple of months now and they’ve had a lot of issues to get their heads around.”